Calgary Summer of 2019. Last visit to Kananaskis was in 2016 when the white cover was melting to give place to new. Now in 2019 as we drive through prairie land and the road frequently taken via the towering Canadian Rockies towards Kananaskis, summer is in full swing (August) with fresh Canola flowers turning the open lands yellow, hay bales sunning themselves in cattle fields, the swaying green foliage and mountain streams and unending stream of cars leading us on.
I suppose it is the pronunciation, Kananaskis, emphasis on two Ns, that adds to the topographical mystique of the place. It took me some time to get the name correct and as I watch the Kananaskis river meander through the spectacular long stretches of steel grey and foamy waters I cannot but think when this must be the hunting grounds of the First Nation tribes.
Kananaskis Valley was home to nomadic Stoney Indians, a mountain Sioux band, who lived and hunted in the barren flats of Bow Valley and mountain paths of the treacherous Rockies. One is tempted to delve deeper into history but nature takes over as one gets a feel of the awesomeness of the surroundings. (Lookouts along the walking trails overlooking Kananaskis River.)The K-Country and Village tumbling out of my winter picture gallery is of snow-covered meadows, gurgling mountain rivers, swishy- chirpy cool breeze rustling through Spruce Pines, trembling Aspens and other vegetation visited by discreet wildlife. The bears were still in hibernation and we had to be content with grazing Elk and mountain goats.
Winter is the time for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and ice fishing, came across a couple in the frozen Kananaskis Lake area. Close at hand are the Nakiska Ski runs and we could see the skiers cascading down snow-ribbons. Nakiska was developed during the 1988 Winter Olympics and remains popular with novices, professionals and habitual skiers for its variety of terrain. Other nearby popular ski runs are Fortress Mountain for cat skiing and Canmore Nordic Center Provincial Park for its 65 km of designed ski trails.
I am back in the present….Summer of 2019….an outdoorsy holiday opportunity for enthusiastic mountain bikers, trail-blazers, hikers, horse riders, campers and golfers. Add to this kayaking, rafting and water sports and for loungers …perfect selfie moments from decks of cozy lodges set amidst the greenery. Wildlife still eluded us and my hopes of bear- sighting would probably have to wait for a third trip to Kananaskis.
Our hike is confined to Village Rim Trails, a flat, short paved easy path wrapped around east end of Delta Lodge. It is an exhilarating walk with spectacular views of the meandering Kananaskis River and valley, a beaming Mount Kidd and other peaks. The lookouts, Points 1 to 5, with conveniently placed wooden benches, are tempting journey breakers to watch the changing colors of the peaks attuned to bracing mountain air.
The refreshing mountain air makes us ravenous and our short walk ends on the sun drenched benches of the Market Cafe followed by souvenir shopping.